A new report shows the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is making a conscious effort to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and aggressively move toward renewable energy resources.
The MENA Renewables Status Report by the World Future Energy Summit says the region must reconsider its approach to energy use due to strong demographic and high population growth rates, rapid urbanization and solid economic growth. As a result of these changes, the MENA region has witnessed a significant increase in the demand for energy and electricity.
“Signs suggest a significant shift in the region’s diversification efforts over the next decade, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with new investment in renewables in the region totaling Dh10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) by end of 2012, an increase of almost 40 per cent over 2011 and a 650 per cent increase from 2004 with entrance of some of the world’s largest energy players, especially national and international oil and gas companies, into the solar market.” — MENA Renewables Status Report by the World Future Energy Summit
Currently, about 100 clean energy projects are under different phases of development in the region. A further 106 renewable energy projects are also in the pipeline. During the next few years, the region will experience a 450 percent increase in non-hydro renewable energy generating capacity. Governments in the region are also pursuing policies to provide a favorable climate for investments in renewable energy projects. By early 2013, 18 countries in MENA had adopted policies such as feed-in tariffs (FiTs), net metering, fiscal incentives and public financing to develop clean energy sector.
As the push for renewable energy gathers momentum all over the world, the MENA nations will embrace the trend and develop the sector into a multi-billion dollar industry. The future of this sector will be advanced by strong government support in the form of regulatory and institutional frameworks to provide an enabling environment to its development.